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A weekly series of insightful conversations with brilliant, visionary thought leaders, exploring the most important issue of our time – our place on the planet.

A weekly series of insightful conversations with brilliant, visionary thought leaders, exploring the most important issue of our time – our place on the planet.
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A weekly series of insightful conversations with brilliant, visionary thought leaders, exploring the most important issue of our time – our place on the planet.






End of Ponzi Economy: Jerry Mander (Encore)

Was globalization a temporary state that has run its course? That’s the case made by Jerry Mander, who believes there is plenty of evidence that the promises of capitalism, consumerism, individual wealth and never-ending growth are coming up empty. He’s founder of the International Forum on Globalization and author of The Case Against the Global Economy and for a Turn Toward the Local. He also wrote The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System in 2012. Jerry Mander is in a...


Survival of the Kindest (Encore)

Tom Shadyac is a successful Hollywood comedy director who found the traditional trappings of success were not the key to happiness. He traded a mansion and private jets for a mobile home and a bicycle. After a bicycle accident nearly killed him, he decided it was time to tell a different kind of story. His documentary, I Am, featured interviews with Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky, David Suzuki, and others about what’s wrong with the world and what we can do about it. He also wrote the book,...


Why This May Be Our Last New Episode

Host Dave Gardner explains why we'll be sharing encores from the 2nd season of Conversation Earth in the coming weeks, and why there are likely to be no more new episodes. The link mentioned in this brief message from Dave is


Reinvent the Economy: Gus Speth 118 (Encore)

While world leaders wring their hands over forecasts of timid GDP growth, a growing list of visionaries around the world are collaborating to redefine economic objectives in a more meaningful and sustainable way. Former White House advisor Gus Speth has been at the forefront of new economic thought for decades. His prescription for change is not a bunch of economic mumbo-jumbo for boards and bankers. His ideas reach deep into the way we conduct our personal lives. “We need to get beyond...


A Not So Big Life: Sarah Susanka (#117 Encore)

How we inhabit our homes, our lives, and the planet. Architect Sarah Susanka observed that houses in the U.S. were getting larger – but some rooms were seldom occupied, and often not even furnished. She found clients frequently did not get the immense satisfaction they expected from living in their “dream house.” How this relates to the way we inhabit our lives, and even the planet, is the subject of this conversation. Sarah Susanka’s observations of Americans’ dissatisfaction with their...


Limits to Growth: Dennis Meadows #116 (Encore)

“Our computer-generated scenarios all showed this growth stopping in the early decades of the 21st century, and, I must say, looking back now, it seems that we're right on schedule.” Dennis Meadows led the team at MIT whose computer simulations led to the publication of the top-selling environmental book of all time – The Limits to Growth. Scientists built on Jay Forester’s pioneering system dynamics work to chart future trends of five variables, analyzing how they would influence one...


Durable Future: Bill McKibben (Encore)

Relocalization may be the most important strategy for minimizing climate change. According to Bill McKibben, “working as communities is the most important thing that we can be doing right now.” In this wide-ranging conversation about the sustainability of our civilization, McKibben shares his thinking about much more than climate change, including the fact that having “more” is not necessarily the key to our happiness. Bill McKibben has played a major role in public awareness and...


Predictably Irrational: Dan Ariely (Encore)

Do we behave rationally? You might be surprised how often our decision-making deviates from what is in our best interest. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely studies human behavior and decision-making. His experiments have led him to startling conclusions. “We repeatedly and predictably make the wrong decisions in many aspects of our lives.” We may be rats in a maze for scientific study, but Dan Ariely puts a refreshingly human face on the scientific study of why we do the things we do. He...


Economic Heresy: Herman Daly (Encore)

Would you believe we've entered a period of "uneconomic growth?" Robust economic growth has become the Holy Grail of public policy and politics. But some economists and many scientists have come to believe growth has become “uneconomic." Former World Bank Senior Economist Herman Daly explains this in terms we can all understand. Daly co-founded the journal, Ecological Economics, and has written and spoken extensively about the fact that “the economy is a sub-system of a larger system. The...


Nature Doesn't Negotiate

“One of the ways that radical ideas become more mainstream is when those of us who hold them aren’t afraid to speak about them.” This thought has guided much of journalism professor Robert Jensen’s work. His writing and speaking often focus on the news that “we live in an economy that is based on the destruction of places all over world.” In this 2015 interview, Jensen explains what he calls “an unprecedented set of threats to the possibility of ongoing, large-scale, human habitation of...


What We Want More Of (Encore)

Our ecosystems contribute tens of trillions of dollars to our economy every year, but – as L. Hunter Lovins notes, “At present we’re losing every major ecosystem on the planet…What are we doing to ourselves?...We have the…intelligence…to make different choices.” Hunter Lovins co-authored the best-selling book, Natural Capitalism, with Paul Hawken and Amory Lovins. In this interview, she outlines those choices and shares how they benefit businesses and the planet. One of the biggest...


Behaving Against Our Interests: Paul Ehrlich (#110 Encore)

Today it could be argued that human beings daily act against our own self-interests. How? Biologist Paul Ehrlich and fellow scientists tell us we are expanding our population and economy beyond the Earth's carrying capacity - at our peril. Why do we insist on continuing? Ehrlich has been a keen observer of human behavior for over 50 years, and he thinks “we need a millennium assessment of human behavior.” If we can understand how we behave, and why we behave that way, perhaps we can figure...


Running on Empty: Rex Weyler #109 (Encore)

Rex Weyler has lived the life dreamed of by those who want to make a difference. As a young man he joined early Greenpeace expeditions to document and stop commercial whaling. He went on to co-found Greenpeace International, and as a journalist has covered the subject of ecology extensively. We're sharing the best episodes from Season One while we fundraise for Season Three. Check out our story at . Your tax-deductible donation fuels this non-profit project....


Lying to Ourselves: Lorna Salzman (#108 Encore)

What went wrong with the environmental movement? Environmental activist, organizer and author Lorna Salzman shares her thoughts about climate change, consumerism, cheap energy, economics, lawyers and politics. She discusses “what went wrong with the environmental movement,” plus irrationality, denial, and outright lies we tell ourselves, and each other. Lorna Salzman has the chops to be an outspoken critic of many in the modern environmental movement. She played a key role in the early...


Cornucopian Myth: William Catton (#107 Encore)

“The age of growth and the age in which growth is going to be considered a good thing is coming to an end.” The late sociologist William R. Catton was certain of this, but spent a significant portion of his professional life attempting to understand why mainstream society was reluctant to prove his point. Catton authored the landmark book, Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change, published in 1980. He brought important sociological perspective to a subject dominated by...


Cruel Hoax: Stephanie Mills #106 (Encore)

Stephanie Mills made headlines in the Spring of 1969 when she vowed, in her commencement address (titled The Future is a Cruel Hoax), to conceive no children. “Our days as a race on this planet are, at this moment, numbered,” she proclaimed, “and the reason for our finite, unrosy future is that we are breeding ourselves out of existence.” In this 2010 interview, Stephanie reflects on the life she has led and the important decision she made at the age of twenty-two. She shares insight about...


Rewriting Our Cultural Narrative: William Rees #105 (Encore)

How big is your ecological footprint? Probably bigger than you think. After all, out of sight, out of mind. As an originator of ecological footprint analysis, population ecologist William Rees knows a thing or two about our impact on the planet. In this interview he provides some fascinating, and surprising insights. Did you know most of us in the industrialized world have a footprint three or four times our fair share? Or that the “global economy is a giant Ponzi scheme? It turns out...


Ecological Amnesia: Winona LaDuke #104 Encore

The author of Recovering the Sacred tells us we need a society that is “respectful, resilient, and ecologically and socially responsible.” Instead, “we have a society based on conquest, on consuming more than it needs.” We emphasize “quarterly profits over intergenerational responsibility.” This is an encore from Season One. We're taking a break after two enlightening seasons of Conversation Earth. Please vote for another season, at


The Fetish of GDP #103 Encore

“Gross Domestic Product has now become a fetish,” according to economist Raj Patel. Many undesirable things end up adding to GDP: wars, disease, and environmental destruction, for example. And GDP fails to measure many desirable indicators of community health. It has led us to live in an ecologically and socially unsustainable fashion. “No one wants to live in the Stone Age, no one wants to live in a time with bad medical care, no one wants to live in a time of poverty and wide-spread...


Retrospective: Dave Gardner #223

Our 41st episode is a retrospective of Seasons 1 and 2 of Conversation Earth. In this episode we turn the table, as co-producer Kaitlyn Hickmann interviews host/creator Dave Gardner. The two share highlights from previous episodes and discuss the joys and challenges of producing the series. This episode serves as a great sampler, giving you a taste of the variety of subjects and the caliber of the guests. Do you want to hear a Season 3? You can make that happen at...


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